Teach Your Kids Math with Cookies

Teach Your Kids Math with Cookies

Mother Rucker's CookiesWhat’s the best way to teach your kids something new? Compare it to something they already love—like food. Children are innately interested in exploring the world around them, but they can be a little resistant to anything that requires memorization and recital, like math. By using fun foods, like Mother Rucker’s Sweets Chocolate Chippies and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, you get your kids counting and adding with ease.

Here are a few ways to use fun foods to acquaint your pre-K kiddo with numbers and basic math.

Counting Games: The first math lesson your child learns is the simple act of counting. What better way to teach your child to count than with cookies? First, recite each number from one to 10 to your child as you lay out 10 cookies. Then have your child do the same, helping out only after they’ve given it a good try on any number they’ve forgotten.

Eventually, start setting out random numbers of cookies and asking your child to count how many there are. Use a cookie as a reward for correct answers, and you’ll see how motivating this simple game can be.

For later lessons on counting to 20, 30 and beyond, use small candies, carrot sticks or strawberries—cookies can get a little unwieldy on your way to 100.

Number Recognition: While you’re teaching counting, it’s good to add in lessons on recognizing numbers. This can be done with a poster board with numbers written on it, spaced so a cookie can fit just above each number. As you lay out the cookies and count from one to ten, place them above each corresponding number. Once your child has mastered this, remove the cookies and hand the board to your child. Give them a cookie and call out a number so they can place it over the correct number.

Math with Cookies
After your child has learned to count and can recognize numbers, you can move on to basic addition and subtraction—using cookies, of course. Hand over two cookies and ask your child to count them. Then write the number down. Ask how many cookies your child would have if you hand them two more, three more, etcetera. Write down the numbers and have your child count up the sums or differences in subtraction, and be patient. Working together and keeping your child’s eyes on the cookies can be a motivating way to learn math.

Cookie Fractions
Once your child is familiar with counting, numbers and basic math, you can introduce the slightly more complex idea of fractions. By breaking a cookie into two and showing it along with a whole cookie, you can demonstrate to your child what a half is—it’s not two little cookies, but two halves of one big cookie. You can do this with thirds and maybe even fourths, if you’re able to keep the pieces the same size. Don’t be too precise with how fractions look on paper at first—just acquaint your little one to the concepts for now.

Keeping It Fun
More important than hearing right answers is keeping the act of learning fun for your child. Nothing can turn a child away from the joy of learning than being shamed or scolded for wrong answers. Expect distractions and keep lessons brief. As long as the lessons feel like fun games, it’s never too soon to start.